We tackled the backyard today – all of us, including the 7 month old, in her stroller. Normally, I don’t do yardwork. Not that I don’t want to, it is just difficult to get any work done and watch the little ones. There is plenty of trouble for them out there – a rocky hill, a wall (perfect for a 2 or 4 yearold to climb on), and of course, snakes, spiders, and the like. Then there’s MY agenda. I have things to do in the house, much more important than anything anyone else has planned. Right?
A few days ago, I casually mentioned that Sunday would be a great time for a family project, like cleaning out the boys’ closet (MY plan). Four boys, one closet, all of the clothing we have collected over the past 11 years from gifts, hand-me-downs, and our own purchases. Not only am I procrastinator, I’m also a hoarder. ‘This will come in handy someday.’ Except someday never comes. My husband suggested we work on the yard in the morning when it’s still cool, then tackle the closet in the afternoon. Sounds good to me. I love getting things accomplished. (Hence, the to do list.)
We went out at 9am. The 2 year old started melting down at about 11am, so I brought the girls inside. The idea of a nap before lunch was absolutely absurd to them, but I tried anyway, defeated by their attempts to pop up out of bed, talking and giggling to each other. I knew they needed to eat, since it was lunch time, so I let the nap go, and tried again after lunch. The rest of us headed outside again, as there were still several hours of work that could be done.
At this point in the day, I knew we weren’t going to get to the closet. I surrendered it. That was the hardest battle of the day! I still hadn’t pulled out the kids’ summer clothes, since it was a nightmare to pull everything out, sort through it, then put it all back again. The dresser drawers were overrun with clothes, shoved in and hanging out, drawers half closed, and I had had enough. But God had other plans, plans which included a beautiful spring day to cleanup the yard, children working together with Mom and Dad, and a satisfying sense of accomplishment and family. God’s plans also included surrender, surrendering something trivial for the greater good of all, rather than myself.
We didn’t finish until 3:30, and it was a long, exhausting day full of hard work and sore muscles. I wonder how my boys will look back on this day and remember the red racer snake, the black widow, the golfer that launched their ball into our oak tree, the huge pile of leaves, the cool sunglasses and hats, the leather gloves, the red dirt, the wheelbarrow, and the family that did it all together.